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House Burned Down During Hypo!

Discussion in 'Diabetes Discussions' started by jb78, Mar 19, 2012.

  1. jb78

    jb78 · Newbie

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    Hi Guys,

    I am an adult son of a 60 year old, Type 1 insulin dependant diabetic. He has suffered for the best part of 35 years, and I would like to share some of his story for a couple of reasons. Firstly I am truly at the end of my tether, and secondly I would be very interested in other people's thoughts on the issues I raise.

    My father successfully avoided a single hypo in the 20 years he worked in the Fire Service after diagnosis. He had others pee in bottles for him to pass the medicals, and moved off operational duty into a HQ role so as not to be a danger to anyone. However whilst he never once in 20 years had a hypo during working hours, our life after 5pm was a living hell. Hypos at 5/6pm because he would inject insulin ages before food was likely to be ready, hypos at 8pm because he couldn't be bothered getting some more carbs down him, and latterly hypos in the night which usually needed medical attention.

    Over the years my view formed that he was submitting us to a kind of "abuse" in that he knew what he needed to do, when he needed to do it, he just chose not to. Whilst hypo unaware situations were always a possibility, zero hypo situations in 20 years during the day, but several a week in the evenings would suggest he absolutely knew what he was doing as he must have had to take some action during the day at some point.

    In 2005 2 things happened. Firstly, he retired. On the same day, as a result of what I call his "abuse" culminated in my mother passed away. This was caused when she had to give up her job because he would come to pick her up at 8.30, absolutely out of it so she was terrified of getting in the car with him. Her life deteriorated into depression, drink and ultimately her death within a matter of a couple of years as she just withered away.

    From thereon, of course he has been depressed - and on one occasion has come close to suicide. After the death of my mother his hypos became so frequent I was often being called by friends to be told he was unconscious on the supermarket car park, or finding him unconscious at home on a daily basis. However things looked up when he hooked up with an old friend and they began to live together as a couple.

    And after a short time the cycle of "abuse" began again - and has been ongoing now, with paramedics called 19 times in the last 3 months. His sugar often gets so low that a single glucagon injection alone does not work - and he claims to be completely hypo unaware.

    The reason I am writing today is because last night he started cooking after his partner had gone to bed - obviously he was having a hypo. At 1.30am a friend of mine rang to say there were 3 fire engines outside the house, 2 ambulances and a load of police. Of course he has only gone and burned the house down! Thank god they are both ok aside from smoke inhalation. It has to stop - but how.

    From the short story above, I would appreciate anybody's views as to their experiences of such issues. I am particularly interested as to the psychological aspect of what he is doing not just to himself but his whole family. After speaking at length with a client of mine who is a GP (whose step son drove through the central reservation of the M65 over xmas during a hypo), he has a theory that in my dad's case, rather than being "unaware", people can be "addicted" to the feeling of having a hypo. We find it all the more odd that he is an intelligent feller apart from his diabetes management.

    Also what support shoud he be asking for from his GP? His HBA1c is 8.1 and he has done the daphne course but this caused him all manner of problems with control so he won't follow what he learned.

    After his diabetes was a primary cause of my late mother's depression, and he nearly killed himself and his partner last night in a fire how many wake up calls is he going to need - or is it that because of his own depression, he just doesnt care?

    Sorry for the length of my first post on the forum, but I'd really appreciate any help or practical advice you can offer.
     
  2. lucylocket61

    lucylocket61 Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    Sending love first and formost.

    My father is similar, but not so bad, so is my brother.

    I have had to step away, particularly as I am now diagnosed myself and struggling to learn and apply stuff. Ultimately this is down to your father. It is his decision. he is an adult. I truly dont think you can do anymore than you have done.

    I hope this forum can help you and support you. It has helped and supported me. You dont have to be Diabetic (I think) to post here. There are others in your situation.

    Soon other, wiser people will come on here and give you some practical help. But I didnt want to leave you hanging in there unanswered.
     
  3. LittleGreyCat

    LittleGreyCat Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    Talk to the CAB - they should know what your options are.

    It sounds unlikely that he is going to sort himself out.
    I guess you have to decide how much responsibility you are prepared to take to limit the danger he is to himself, and more importantly to others.
    It will be a thankless task where you are seen as the villain.

    People with 'mental' problems such as bi-polar who refuse to medicate and become a danger to themselves and/or others can be sectioned and taken into hospital until they are on an even keel.
    This is an extreme measure but can be an effective way to stabilise someone who is out of control.
    I don't know if this can be applied to out-of-control T1s.

    I trust your father is not driving because going by your reports of his methods of evading detection whilst working he is quite unlikely to notify DVLA or his insurers that he is a T1 on insulin who has regular serious hypos.

    It would not be good if he had a hypo whilst driving and killed someone.

    This may all be an "it's not fair" response where he feels the need to make others suffer because he has a problem and they don't.
    It is obviously calculated because he showed great control whilst he was working.

    So - ask the CAB what you can do.

    If he is still driving you could inform the DVLA if he has not declared his diabetes and poor control.
    This might remove one area of risk to others.

    Not a good position for you to be in.
    You have my deepest sympathy.

    Regards

    LGC
     
  4. viv1969

    viv1969 · Well-Known Member

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    I agree that it does sound like your father is a danger, not only to himself and his partner, but to the population in general if he is still driving a car.

    I agree that staging an intervention, and informing certain authorities yourself seems extreme, but it does seem the only option if your dad just refuses to help himself. Sectioning perhaps still carries a stigma, however you could be saving the life not just of your dad, but of someone totally unconnected to the situation who happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    I wish you a great deal of luck, and as with LGC....my thoughts and sympathies are with you.
     
  5. sweetLea

    sweetLea · Well-Known Member

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    Since he is a danger to himself and others his doctor should be able to intervene.
    I am hypo unaware but it is countered by testing more often. Your Father should know this and do it also.
    I can only imagine how you are feeling and my thoughts are with you.
     
  6. jb78

    jb78 · Newbie

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    Cheers for the replies so far guys.

    He had his licence revoked a couple of months ago thank god - I remember as a kid being in the car whilst he had a serious hypo to the extent that although we got to where we were going, he couldn't get out of the car when we had arrived.

    The sectioning / intervention issue is an appropriate comment and I thank you all for not shying away from that. He is a danger to his own health, and that of his partner - and what has just happened is clear evidence of that. However I discussed this with my GP friend/client and he doesn't believe that it is an option in this situation. If he tried suicide again that may be different, but it was 2 years since he was found on a motorway bridge so that bird may have flown.

    He has had the same GP for 30 years and the same nurse for 15. I have to admit given the frequency of medical attendance over the years, I do have concerns about the GP's understanding of what is actually going on. I don't know whether there is more the GP can do or whether my dad tells him the full story. All that ever seems to happen is his meds change or he gets told to try a different dosage. One of the primary issues seems to be that he is absolutely set on injecting to bring his sugar down before he eats - which is ridiculous as it is almost never above 6/7, so by the time he gets round to eating he has induced his own hypo. For an intelligent bloke, this just seems like something only an idiot would do?

    I have tried researching glucose monitors/alarms but would I be right in thinking they are only for short term use? I know there have definately been occasions where his BG has dropped astonishingly fast without any apparent cause so I do believe he has genuine issues which a monitor might help, but either he has not asked his GP or the GP has refused for some reason.
     
  7. hanadr

    hanadr · Expert

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    That's a real horror story. However, if your Father hasn't looked after himself for 35 years, It's not very likely that he'll change. People Don't, unless They want to. Ultimately, there's not much you can do about it.
    My Mum has the same genetic type 2 that I have, but only listens to those things she wants to. In her case the loss of the sight of one eye hasn't made her give up white toast and potatoes. She thinks I take things too far, because I only eat very little Burgen bread and no old potatoes or rice or pasta. I made my choice to preserve my sight. She's over 90 now and I accept she won't change. I have got her to have Burgen bread for breakfast. You may be able to get your father to modify some behaviours, but I doubt he'll change.
    Hana
     
  8. squeeze321

    squeeze321 · Well-Known Member

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    Hi JB78
    Goodness me, you sound like you are really at the end of your tether with your Fathers diabetes and you know I really don't blame you if you are. If I had put someone, anyone through that, I would feel more than bad.

    I have sympathy for your father also though I can understand the frustration that diabetes can cause and I too have had moments when I felt very alone with it.......nearly lost my life to it. Your father needs to get to a point where he realises he can not carry on like he has been and this is for his sake as well as yours and your families'. How you get someone to understand they have hit rock bottom before it is too late, I really don't know. I am wondering myself how on earth would I communicate that to someone......I hope you find the answer.

    All the best to both you and your Father, I hope life gets better.
     
  9. iHs

    iHs · Well-Known Member

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    Hi

    From reading yr msg I think yr Dad is suffering from depression and needs some help from his GP and also some friendly counciling. To not care about how often he gos hypo and not want to do anything to try and stop some of them is worrying.

    The basal/bolus insulin regime is not suitable for everyone and your dad needs to be offered a different type of insulin regime that wont require him to figure out insulin to carb ratios or to test his bg levels as often as what is required using fast acting insulins.

    Twice daily insulin regimes are still available and yr dad might be ok just remembering to eat some carbohydrate every so many hours and just test bg levels 3 or 4 times a day.

    Get your poor dad some help...................
     
  10. lucylocket61

    lucylocket61 Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    You cant help someone who wont be helped. It seems like the OP has tried for many years to help and get help.
     
  11. iHs

    iHs · Well-Known Member

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    I don't know when yr dad last saw a hospital consultant but it might be worthwhile for him to be tested for Addison's Disease as that can cause loss of hypo awareness and literally make people collapse. There is treatment for it using steroids and it is also possible to get a cgm if it is found that yr dad has it.
     
  12. fuzzelogik

    fuzzelogik Type 2 · Member

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    Warning a really long post!
    -----
    Hiya,

    It sounds like you have gone through a tremendous ordeal and I can only sympathise. I am sure there are quite a few people who may be able to share help and guidance. I can only help by sharing my story...

    My mother was diagnosed with diabetes (type 2) when she was pregnant with me 28 years ago. Apparently it had been undiagnosed for at least 5 years before that stage... My mother never really took it seriously, the only thing she wouldn't do is drink but I think that is in relation to a different event in her life.

    Throughout my life I have witnessed my mother smoking like a chimney, drinking full cans of condense milk in one go and really never looking after herself properly. I remember at the age of 13 I had to drive our car home as she couldn't see and a car was a definite foreign object right then. As I got older I noticed things more - eating doorstep size pieces of bread smothered in butter and marmalade caused her to feel 'drowsy' and she just needed to 'lie down for a minute'. There were so many signs which now scream out at me and thats only because I was diagnosed with Type 2 last April. Her diabetes was never really spoken of and I never really knew everything about it until now...

    I came to the conclusion that my mother was on a war path with herself and when I left home it got worse. My folks got divorced when I was 2 so it was always the two girls and my mom - we were really close and she relied on me heavily. I visited my mother as often as possible, she did have a manipulative way to get me to come and see her when she demanded. Out of love and the fact that I really did care for her I would go and visit to make sure everything is okay. The amount of times I arrived at her house to find mouldy food on the stove after cooking it and never actually eating it was astounding. Rubbish was piling up, ashtrays full of old stinking cigarettes... That kind of thing.

    After a while my mom decided that she was getting worse because the doctors had her on the wrong medicine. This is when the self-medication started... She would change the quantity of her meds, change the frequency or stop taking them at all. In addition to this she moved around a lot so nobody could actually take control of her diabetes and she never helped herself. What I am saying here is that I firmly believe she self sabotaged herself, not saying it was attention seeking but there was something definitely wrong...

    It is only now, after 3 years of falling down unconscious without any memory of it, hours upon hours in A&E and being near on blind that she is taking it seriously. There are two main reasons for this, the first is that my mother loves playing piano. She is now forming arthritis and sensation loss in her hands and feet and she fears she will never play again. The second is that after much persuasion she went to a specialist who has put her on insulin. Between the threat of losing her precious piano and that she would die within a year she is slowly beginning to realise how all those years of abuse has cost her.

    Its like everything in life - if something you cherish and aspire to achieve in life is taken away from you you will fight tooth and nail to stop it. Some win, some don't.

    I got an email from my mother a while ago with the lessons she has learn't At the tender age of 55 she is taking control of her life. She has only missed out on 28 years of it!

    Anyways, thats the essence of my story and the other thing I wanted to ask is: have you heard of the i-port? You only need to fill it with insulin once every 3 days and it automatically does the leg work... http://www.i-port.com/
     
  13. gillkin

    gillkin Type 1 · Active Member

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    It makes me really angry when I read things like this, there is absolutely no need to put yourself and how dare anyone put their family through this. Diabetes isn't a walk in the park but it definitely isn't by any stretch of the imagination the worst thing you could have to live with. I would find it very difficult not to say to your father and the others like him, stop feeling sorry for yourself and get on with it. Everybody has dark, feeling sorry for themselves days regardless of whether they have a condition or not but I think there is too much "Oh woe is me" and "let's sit and dwell on how bad I've got it" encouraged today.
    Apologies for the rant but I did say I was angry
     
  14. Unbeliever

    Unbeliever · Well-Known Member

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    Diabees is a srange disease. It can successfully be hidden from others and even from oneself. It is not unusual to hear people wonder if they are really diabetic or if hey might have been misdiagnosed.

    I wonder if the OP has contacted his father's GP..I know the Gp would not be able to discuss the case with the son but at least he would be aware that there is a greater problem han anyone is probably aware of.

    Unfortunately many people do lead miserable lives through no faul of heir own. and in circumstances which debar them fron
    help. The more caring the person the more diffficult it is for them. This must be a form of mental illness. I have had o cope with this {in others} all my life. Sufferers often lead very successful double lives as i know too well.

    If you are a caring , responsible person as the Op obviously is, then it is impossible for you to turn your back on the situation.
    I would certainly try to let he Gp know the true situation. This might not lead to any immediate action but he'she will at least be alerted to look beyond the surface/ It is so much harder when dealing with intelligen and otherwise competent people.
    Sometimes rying o get help causes others , even professionals to doubt your motives . Indeed sometimes the person with the issus can appear to be more stable than the person seeking help for them.

    Perhaps citing some of the events and including proof or evidence fro others may help? The Gp may then be able to invove the appropriate professionals.

    This is a dreadful situaion for you . have you spoken to your father's partner about it? Can she help ? She may , after recent evts be afraid for her own safety now and you may find her ready o assist . I do hope so.

    I also wonder if resentment of the disease is causing your father o push the boundaries in a sort of ganme of "chicken"
    I have a close relative who suffers with an anxiety disorder which causes her he most dreadful physical symptoms. She keeps puttting herself in the most stressful situations she can - situations most people could not deal with . It is as though she is in denial and wants to prove that she can deal with situations despite her anxiey problems. She is ring o prove to herself and others that they do not prevet her doing anything she wants to do.
    I do hope the OP finds some help for himself and his father soon.
     
  15. Anonymous

    Anonymous · Guest

    Wow.... what a story! It must be hard for you to see this. I notice you seem to think he is doing this deliberately. Maybe he has had long term depression? Diabetes isn't an easy condition to manage or accept. One thing I notice myself is that I am more prone to hypos at night. Maybe this is the same for your dad to some degree? During the day I'm able to make sure I avoid a hypo in most cases (not always), but at night, especially when the temp goes down, I get hypos. As others have said it is really your dad's decision at the end of the day in that you can offer your support and make suggestions... but he has to choose to change what he is doing and want help. I'm glad to hear he didn't get killed in that fire.... hopefully he starts to think about his situation and start being safe for a change. It sounds to me that he is just really depressed.... he's not accepting his situation at all and can't be bothered with it.... he must have some high readings too with a HbA1c of 8.1%.... he's probably on a rollercoaster ride with his BGLs throughout each day. Wishing you and your family all the best. I hope there is some resolve soon for peace of mind. :)
     
  16. jollyrambler

    jollyrambler · Member

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    Hi my dad is type 2 like myself.My dad does not reconise hypo's.He also has nearly burned the house down with his cooking,had a hypo when he has started cooking,we used to find him out of it with house full of smoke.He know has to have district nurses come in twice a day to give his insulyin because he forgets to take it.He also has two carers come in to help him get up & put him to bed.We did asked if he could be sectioned for his own safety but was refused,they said he was compus mentus which is rubish to me & the district nurses,i am involved with a mental health charity so i know what i am talking about & i have worked with people with mental health issues for years.You must keep on at your gp to get the care your dad needs,get your dad a advocate if you can, to speak on his behalf.My dad has a fantastic lady who sticks up for him,infact she won national social worker of the year,last year.You need someone like her on your side.Ask your gp to get one for him ,if he is in hospital they should provide one for.Any way good luck with everything.If you need any more help feel free to email me.
     
  17. nataliegage

    nataliegage · Active Member

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    I know your post is an old one, but there are some people like me who can go hypo at levels much higher than the Doctor's realise. I was sent to a Child Psychologist when it first started, but now because I do BM tests, I know symptoms start at 16 mmol/l way way above anything anyone has ever heard of. But I assure you, the headaches start, the shakes start - but fortunately I do get warnings so immediately eat something. But this is where the problem lies. Diabetics are bullied into keeping their blood sugars at levels I couldn't exist on. Mine have been high for 60 years and although they have been so, I've never had an accident driving, I've never been dangerous and the only times I've been hospitalised have been through the night when I've gone into them when asleep. Would you believe I cannot go to bed without a blood sugar over 20 - happiest at 23. I then feel safe to take 10 units Lantus (24 hour acting) and then I often wake up on a 9 or maybe 12. My sugar can drop so rapidly.

    What I'm saying is your father may not have been `abusing' you all. I wouldn't wish T1 diabetes on my worst enemy. Many of us used to be classified as brittle (impossible to stabilise even though we were following the rules). I certainly hate putting people to trouble and try my best to care for myself.

    It is terrible what you've had to live with and I do have the greatest sympathy for your late mother and yourself - but please don't take it out on your dad who has for a long time been a sick man. Nobody without the condition can understand how diffiult it is to live with. How I've remained cheerful, I'll never know. But laugh and the world laughs with you, but weep and you cry alone. Men can't even cope with man flu and I can assure you diabetes is much harder to deal with than that, it doesn't just last a week. Even if it is phsychological - that depends on his personal mental health, so many diabetics do suffer from other things such as depression.

    If you think he is a danger to himself or others, you could speak to his GP - who I suppose could secton him and retain him in a mental hospital - but do you really want to do that. I don't really think the Doctor's would do it. I just believe he is a brittle diabetic and if he is he has my deepest symathy cos life has been very hard on him.

    Just try and understand and remember you only have one mum and one dad. Value them when they are alive, because there's nothing you can do when the end comes. You can only exist when your conscience is clear and you can say `I understood and did everything I could'. Also remember some people cannot COPE with life in general - we are all different.

    Try and be tolerant to him. I know its not easy for you. Good luck and please g-d it's not something you will inherit. as that is always pssible.

    NattyG
     
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